Reds’ Fa’agase hit with month-long ban for high shot

Alex Mitchell |

The Reds’ Sef Fa’agase has been rubbed out of the game after a controversial judiciary decision.
The Reds’ Sef Fa’agase has been rubbed out of the game after a controversial judiciary decision.

Queensland Reds prop Sef Fa’agase is set for a month on the sidelines after being hit with a suspension for a head clash in his side’s upset win against the Chiefs.

Fa’agase was attempting to tackle Simon Parker in the first half of their 25-19 victory, but instead crashed into the flanker’s head with his own.

Referee Ben O’Keeffe was stationed directly in front of the incident and did not award a penalty, while a TMO review also cleared the Reds enforcer.

“Head clash only, no foul play,” O’Keeffe was heard saying on his microphone soon after the incident.

But the SANZAAR judicial committee found the 33-year-old guilty of a dangerous tackle, noting that can include a tackle that starts below the line of the shoulders but slips up to the head.

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative … the committee upheld the citing,” committee chair Michael Heron said in a statement.

“Following the World Rugby head contact process, the committee assessed the player’s actions as having directly contacted the head, at speed, with high force and without the required mitigating factors to warrant a reduction from a red card.”

Fa’agase left the field minutes after the incident and failed an HIA, while Parker stayed on the field before being substituted in the second half.

The committee found the incident was worth a six-week ban, but knocked two games off for Fa’agase’s remorse, disciplinary history and conduct through the hearing.

The ban is unlikely to leave Queensland officials too pleased, given fellow Chiefs flanker Samipeni Finau avoided a ban for a brutal late shot on Reds five-eighth Tom Lynagh.

Tom Lynagh and Samipeni Finau.
Reds No.10 Tom Lynagh is hit late by Chiefs forward Samipeni Finau. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The playmaker had offloaded the ball well before Finau drilled him in the ribs, with Queensland coach Les Kiss calling for that type of play to be stamped out of the game after the Chief did not even receive a yellow card.

“Good young players, whatever club they’re in, have to be protected. I’m not talking about putting them in cotton wool,” Kiss said on Monday.

“They’re tough players, but they don’t deserve anything that’s late and can create a whiplash moment that could hurt you.

“We’ve got to protect them. I’m big on that and it’s not right.”